OUTSPOKEN Orlando Pirates striker Benni McCarthy yesterday defended the decision of his close friend, Moeneeb Josephs, to quit the national soccer team.
McCarthy said Josephs decided to dump the national team “in frustration” when it dawned on him that Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane would always give the No1 jersey to Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune. “He (Josephs) actually cried,” McCarthy said yesterday.
“He is my roommate, you know, and he asked me for my input. But I said he should make his own decision and I will respect whatever he decides. When he explained his reasons and why he wanted to do it, yeah, the man broke down and cried. I put myself in his shoes and if I was in those shoes, I would have done exactly the same.
“If I feel that I am doing more than enough to earn a place, or at least a chance at being No1, and I am not being selected….”
Josephs declined to comment and walked away yesterday when approached by journalists to provide further light on his shock decision.
Bafana face Ethiopia in a 2014 Soccer World Cup qualifier in Rustenburg on June 3 and Josephs should have been in camp with the national team as Mosimane announced him in the 30-member squad last week.
The 32-year-old made his Bafana debut in 2003 and has struggled to come to terms with playing second fiddle to the 24-year-old Khune, who made his debut in national team colours only in 2008.
Matters came to a head early this year when Mosimane named Khune in the Bafana starting line-up in the friendly international against Senegal in Durban on February 29, despite his coming from a long injury layoff. Khune had been out injured for more than three months and Josephs thought he would be No1 as Khune played his first competitive match after his layoff against Jomo Cosmos at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium only on February 16.
Josephs made the decision to dump Bafana a few days ago and has ignored the call-up that was sent to Pirates and to him last week.
His Pirates team-mates — Andile Jali and Oupa Manyisa, who also play with him at national team level — travelled to Rustenburg after the club won the league title at the weekend. He was the only absentee.
Josephs’ representatives contacted the Bafana camp and told them not to consider him for this encounter and any other future Bafana matches.
In the letter Josephs also requested a meeting with Mosimane to explain his decision.
Mosimane asked the player to write the letter himself, rather than through his representatives, and explain himself before such a meeting could take place,
The Bafana coach will make a decision on Josephs only once the player has sent the letter.
McCarthy said he understood where Josephs was coming from but he feared the public would lash out at the player after his decision to turn his back on his country.
McCarthy himself had numerous clashes with the media and even the public during his incident-riddled Bafana career.
He resigned regularly from the national team after numerous fall-outs with the South African Football Association.
“I understand Moeneeb’s issues,” McCarthy said.
“People will hate him but they must put themselves in his position. It is a sad moment for us to see one of the best goalkeepers pull out so close to the start of the Bafana World Cup qualifiers.
“Moeneeb is a great professional and if I was in his situation I would have probably done the same thing.” He said such things happened.
“In an act of frustration, it happens. Once you read clearly that you are not achieving your goals, then it is better to not continue.
“I am sad that he has pulled out of the national team because I think he is an absolute gem in goals.
“I am fully behind Moeneeb whether he decides to go back to the national team or decides to concentrate on playing his football at club level at Pirates.”
Article source: http://www.businessday.co.za/articles/Content.aspx?id=172372